Jockey Malcolm Franklin rode his 1,000th winner Feb. 4, when he guided Belvin to a head victory in the fourth race at Turfway Park.
"It's been a long haul to get it," the 27-year-old jockey said. "I've ridden a lot of horses and I never thought I'd get there. I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing."
Franklin set his sights on race riding as a youngster. His life with Thoroughbreds began at 11, when he began mucking stalls for his godfather, who worked at Elloree Training Center in South Carolina. He rode his first few races at Colonial Downs in the summer of 2005, returned home to finish high school, and began riding full-time at Colonial in 2006. He moved his tack to Maryland the next year, where he stayed until moving to Indiana in 2012. He has since continued to ride the Kentucky-Indiana circuit.
The change to Midwest scenery proved successful. He was Indiana Grand's leading rider in 2013 and the first rider in that track's history to win more than $3 million in purse earnings in one season. His momentum was temporarily halted when an on-track accident late in that season left him with a broken leg, but he returned five months later and picked up where he left off, winning 100 races in 2014.
Sent off the favorite at 6-5, Franklin kept 7-year-old Belvin close up at the back of the field of five in the mile claiming race at Turfway, before he tipped him out approaching the far turn. He drew even with the leaders at the top of the turn but was floated wide into the stretch by Triple Creek and then battled that one to the wire. Belvin is trained by Tom Drury Jr. for Brett Bresser, Bart Bresser, and Allen Spence.